Countless post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patient testimonials champion medical marijuana’s ability to soothe anxiety, calm aggression, alleviate sleep disorders, and stabilize mood swings.
Several studies speak to the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) – a nonpsychoactive marijuana compound – and its ability to counteract anxiety. As New York University psychiatrist and researcher Esther Blessing summarizes:
“I think there’s good evidence to suggest that CBD could be an effective treatment of anxiety…”
According to psychiatrist Sue Sisley:
“I think the most intriguing thing is that a single plant can provide monotherapy for this whole constellation of [PTSD] symptoms.”
Research suggests PTSD patients may be deficient in anadamine, an endogenous cannabinoid compound. This deficiency could skew performance of cannabinoid receptor CB-1, which is charged with deactivating traumatic memories and helping us to forget.
Scientists claim CBD delays the re-uptake of anadamine and its inhibition by certain enzymes. Surprisingly, that’s not all.
A 2016 Frontiers in Pharmacology study found that CBD may also reduce learned fear – a condition that triggers the fight or flight response at inappropriate times – by decreasing fear expression, disrupting memory reconsolidation, and enhancing extinction (the process by which exposure therapy inhibits learned fear).